Congrats to All 2017 SHEAR Publication Prizewinners!

Kudos to all those awarded prizes at our 2018 meeting this past summer in Cleveland.

Do you have work published in 2018 that ought to be considered for one of the prizes below? The deadline for submissions for this year’s prizes is March 1, 2019.  For more information, see

SHEAR Book Prize for 2017

Daina Ramey BerryDaina Ramey Berry, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation  (Beacon Press, 2017).

Daina Ramey Berry is an Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History at the University of Texas at Austin. From the prize committee citation:

. . . [S]ure to take its place as one of the foremost histories of American slavery. While it joins the growing number of books on the history of slavery and capitalism, Berry pays equal and systematic attention not just to the ways in which bondage assigned monetary values to the enslaved, but also to the ways in which the enslaved sought to counteract the ruthless economic exploitation of their bodies. 

James H. Broussard First Book Prize for 2017

Kenneth Cohen, They Will Have Their Game: Sporting Culture and the Making of the Early American
(Cornell University Press, 2017). 

Kenneth Cohen is a Curator of American Culture, Smithsonian National Museum of American History. From the prize committee citation:

. . . [A]n important and wide-ranging book that does a brilliant job of using recreation and sports—topics often relegated to the sidelines in histories of the Early Republic—in a very effective way to illuminate inconsistencies of thinking around class, democracy, and white masculinity in the United States. As Cohen skillfully shows with impressive and fabulous research and lucid arguments, the taverns, theaters, clubs, and horse tracks that were filled with white American males, as well as some women and people of color, were contested and heterogeneous spaces that challenged, but never overcame, the power of elite men.

James Bradford Biography Prize for 2017

Tiya Miles, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press, 2017)

Tiya Miles is Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at Harvard University.

From the prize committee citation:

. . . [C]hronicles the life of a city from its birth as a fort in the borderlands between Native nations and European empires, through a stormy adolescence scarred by conflicting pursuits of independence, to its maturation into “an American metropolis that slavery had made” by the end of the War of 1812. This book spans multiple historical scales—global, imperial, national, urban, community, family and individual—and. . . shows that the labor of enslaved indigenous and black workers fueled the city’s economy even as their border-crossing pursuits of freedom forged its unique character.

The Mary Kelley Prize in the History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality for 2017

Leigh Fought, Women in the World of Frederick Douglass (Oxford University Press, 2017). 

Leigh Fought is an Assistant Professor of History at LeMoyne College.  From the prize committee citation:

. . . [A] scrupulously researched and richly contextualized study that serves as a kind of collective biography of white and black women within Douglass’s family and household, and without. These women include his mother and first and second wives, the women who enslaved him, his daughters and granddaughters, and all of the many women with whom he worked in abolitionist politics and civil rights. . . . This book is a beautiful group portrait of women involved in abolition and women’s rights from the 1830s through the 1890s, one that tells us all kinds of interesting things about characters that we thought we already knew[.]

Ralph D. Gray Article Prize (Best Piece of Scholarship Printed in the Journal of the Early Republic), 2017:

Ralph Tyson Reeder, “Liberty with the Sword: Jamaican Maroons, Haitian Revolutionaries, and American Liberty.” Volume 37, No. 1 (Spring 2017).

Tyson Reeder is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia/Assistant Editor of the Papers of James Madison. From the prize committee citation:

Looking past the usual periodization of 18th and early 19th-century America, “Liberty with the Sword” links the long-standing violence in Jamaica that ended in the so-called Maroon Treaty of 1739 with the Second Seminole War, fought a century later in the Florida Panhandle. He shows how 18th-century planters understood the Jamaican Maroons as semi-sovereign communities who had won their autonomy through virtuous struggle and who might serve as useful bulwarks against all-out race war.

SHEAR Dissertation Prize for 2017

Nora Slonimsky, “‘The Engine of Free Expression’: The Political Economy of Copyright                                          in the Colonial British Atlantic and Early National United States.” Dissertation completed at the City of New York Graduate Center under the supervision of Andrew Robertson.

Nora Slonimsky is Gardiner Assistant Professor of History, Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies. From the prize committee citation:

. . . [E]xplains the early American roots of copyright, an important and currently controversial subject. . . . It abjures easy answers and moralizing in the service of deeper, sometimes ironic historical truths about a myriad of subjects usually segregated into the history of the book, legal history, and political history.